There has been a steady rise in the number of MLAs with a criminal background in the Karnataka assembly. Among the 221 newly-elected MLAs, 77 (35 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves, of which 54 MLAs have declared serious criminal cases, like murder and attempt to murder.
In 2013, the Karnataka assembly had 34 per cent of MLAs having criminal cases against them, while in 2008, the proportion of elected MLAs with a criminal background was 24 per cent, says an analysis by the Karnataka Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has bagged the highest number of seats at 104, has 42 (41 per cent) MLAs with criminal backgrounds, followed by the Congress at 23 out of their 78 and 11 of the 37 elected legislators of the Janta Dal (Secular) have declared criminal cases against themselves.
“One BJP MLA. namely Harshvardhan B. from Nanjangud constituency has not been analysed as his affidavit was poorly scanned. The elections in two constituencies namely Jayanagar and Rajarajeshwari Nagar have not been held,” ADR said.
When it comes to wealth, a majority of elected MLAs cutting across party lines have made the cut as millionaires, with 215 out of the 221 MLAs declaring assets of Rs 10 million and more.
Overall, almost 50 per cent of the total number of elected MLAs have declared assets worth Rs 100 million and above. In comparison, out of the 218 MLAs analysed during Karnataka 2013 assembly elections, 203 (93%) MLAs were millionaires, while in 2008, the proportion of millionaires among elected legislators was 63 per cent, said the ADR analysis.
The three MLAs with the highest assets are from the Congress – N Nagaraju (Rs 10.15 billion, D K Shivakumar (Rs 6.4 biilion), and Suresh B S (Rs 4.6 billion).
Reflecting a skewed gender balance, there are only seven women among the 222 newly elected legislators, compared with five in 2013.
When it comes to educational qualifications, 61 per cent or 135 of the elected legislators are graduates or above, 36 per cent or 80 of them have declared themselves as Class V-XII pass, one MLA has said he is ‘literate’ while one has not declared anything.
Age-wise, a majority of the 135 MLAs (61 per cent) are between 41 and 60 years old, 64 or 29 per cent are between 61 and 60 years old, only 15 MLAs are between 25 and 40 years old and three are above 80 years old.
This article has been published in arrangement with TheWire.